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After talking at length about Wil Wheaton violating his own rule in the botched run of Tabletop, we discuss the new games in the Wolfenstein series, following our friend William "B.J." Blazkowicz through Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. This was very nearly a lost episode of GeekNights, so the quality isn't up to the par of our 10-years 1,100ish episode run to date. But it's not lost. It's UN-lost.Download MP3
Compared to, say, a Call of Duty, Wolfenstein is way more in-depth and clever by leaps and bounds. I'd actually say that of the category of pure shootyman FPS games, The New Order/Old Blood have more going on than any game that's come out since, like, the first FEAR. It's got the light stealth mechanics, dual welding, you move crazy fast compared to any modern FPS (not nearly DOOM levels, but pretty darn fast) with quick movement over and around obstacles, you've got the laser for cutting loopholes, limited ammo is actually a serious concern, you've got the crouch-slide, assassinating officers, it's got actual boss fights, and it has a cover mechanic that actually works and doesn't superglue your ass to a wall. Heck, just the fact that there are actually different ways to approach most encounters (as is my way, I played as stealth-heavy as I could and probably killed like 80% of nazis with knives or silent pistols.) puts it head and shoulders above just about every modern FPS.
Scott said he pretty much just did the same thing the entire time he played, but he only played on the middle difficulty. I think the litmus test to use is to crank the game all the way up and see how your play changes. In, say, Call of Duty, you just die a lot more and maybe use more grenades, but fundamentally what you do is unchanged, but in Wolfenstein I feel it really makes it clear how many different tools you have. Stealth is a fun thing you can do on the easy difficulties and fucking required on the harder ones because you absolutely need to save every single assault rifle bullet and shotgun shell for the robots and ubersoldiers. They also pace out the ammo and health really well; I'm specifically thinking of the helicopter bay in the London level, where they keep you pretty starved for ammo and armour right before the big final fight, but give you a chance to restock before it goes down only if you can clear out the walkways without getting detected and get to the supply cache in the control room. That fight is mean (waves of soldiers from multiple directions that force you to keep moving, followed by a squad of superpowered robots that will take pretty much every round of ammunition you have) but also probably one of my favourite FPS setpieces in a long time.
(The Old Blood also has a really good fight in the castle library where its both multi-level and circular, and there's no point, even behind the bar, that provides cover from all the angles the enemy comes at, and they throw you at it just after they take all your gear away.)
There are way better indie shooters out there, but Wolfenstein is, for better or for worse, probably the best big-budget pure shootyman FPS in years. Which is kinda sad, yeah, but NAZI MOONBASE.
Also there is an actual story to these games, not deep dense or difficult to understand but about the level of an action movie which is what I treated the game as.
It was worth my time and money.
Here is some fuel to add to the writing of rules.